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As has already happened before, but in this case, it comes from a small strip of wounded land in the heart of the “Heart of Italy”. A sprout of future for Italy and Europe.

Montanari testoni

 

Four documentaries, four stories about Valnerina’s rebirth. A year after the earthquake that hit central Italy, four documentaries, written, produced and realized with the Restart project. Comunità Resistenti by MenteGlocale – permanent laboratory of social communication, based in Perugia – tell the stories of a land, the Umbrian Valnerina, which reacted to the earthquake’s material and moral damages.
Norcia, Campi, Cascia, Ruscio: the earthquake struck the populations touching them in the affections, in the habits and in the small and great security of everyday life. These mountaineers were injured but not defeated, and in some cases they were able to react to the difficulties by rolling up their sleeves. Written by Filippo Costantini, Giorgio Vicario and Daniele Suraci, who has also directed and edited the Restart project. Comunità Resistenti, it was created with the contribution of Corecom Umbria, through the 2017 Community TV competition.

The four docu-films

The four docu-films try to tell the stories of these territories, the stories little known or that few tell. People and places are the protagonists, who go beyond the earthquake and try to roll up their sleeves to start over and move on.

 

  • Montanari testoni

Born in November 2016 in Norcia, inside a field tent, the Montanari Testoni association was promoted by a group of young people from the territory to face together the adversities related to the earthquake. It was created to talk and discuss the personal and collective situation and to propose activities of participation, sharing, collaboration and cultural promotion dedicated to the inhabitants of Norcia. From a collection center for food and clothes, a real social center, the container has hosted in recent months – and continues to do so – condominium meetings, workshops for children, film clubs and much more, until the rehearsals of the famous Corale di Norcia, left without a seat, and has now become a fundamental reference point for the entire nursery community.

 

Sisters of Cascia

Sisters of Cascia

 

  • Rita

In Cascia, after the shock of October 30th, 2016, several buildings became unusable, but except for a few cases there were no collapses. For security reasons, for the first time in the history of Cascia the Basilica of Santa Rita was closed and the Augustinian cloistered nuns had to leave the monastery, returning after a few weeks. They tell the life in the Cloistered Monastery of the Sisters of Cascia and the relationship between the Casciani and Saint Rita: in a Cascia hit by the earthquake the icon of the Saint is a concrete presence of hope for the future.

 

  • Maddalena

Ruscio is a small fraction of the Municipality of Monteleone di Spoleto composed by two-storey houses, historical buildings, three churches, two squares, a bridge and many fountains. The village develops along a single road cut by a bridge that divides Ruscio above from Ruscio below. The fraction, where there are permanently seventy people, has not suffered much damage. The material signs of the recent earthquakes are there, but they are not very strong: the most evident damages are in people and are linked to the fear of depopulation, to the fear that at least for a few years it will no longer be the same. Every year in the summer the rusciari scattered in the world return to the small Umbrian village to spend their holidays, repopulating houses that for most of the year are carefully guarded by the few stable inhabitants of the country. On August 24th the traditional Rusciari Dinner is celebrated, an indispensable moment to say goodbye before returning to their places of residence. In 2016, due to the earthquake, the dinner was canceled.

 

  • Doctormonster

Back to Campi is the dream of Roberto Doctormonster Sbriccoli, bricklayer-dj of Campi, a fraction of the Municipality of Norcia strongly affected by the shocks of 2016. The upper part of the village is red zone, all the houses are unusable, and several are collapsed. Between the upper and lower parts of the village stands the headquarters of the Pro Loco, a structure inaugurated just four days before the earthquake of August 24th, 2016 and built by the inhabitants of Campi – ed by Doctormonster. A class four anti-seismic structure that was immediately used as an emergency reception center. In the weeks following the shock, it hosted up to ninety people, proving to be fundamental for shelter and assistance. Animator and coordinator of the space was Docmonster, who is also the president of the Pro Loco. These were difficult days, full of discouragement and nervousness, but that place was fundamental. Today many of the inhabitants of Campi live in the newly delivered containers and wooden houses.
Docmonster has a dream called Back to Field, a € 4 million project that aims to build a multi-purpose center for tourism and sport on a newly acquired site by Pro Loco. It is a project that aims to provide a complete and equipped with all the services to those who will be on vacation in the summer (before the earthquake many people choose this place for summer holidays) in these areas and has the ambition to be a multi-purpose center for pre-season retreats of the teams of different sports. Docmonster took it upon himself to realize this project.

 

 


The video: http://www.menteglocale.com/

Giovanni di Pietro, called Lo Spagna, after his familys Spanish origins, (Spain 1470 – Spoleto 1528) is one of the protagonists of Umbrian pictorial art between the XV and XVI centuries. Not as well known as other followers of the Umbrian master Pietro Vannucci (some of his more famous students: Pinturicchio and Raffaello), he is an interesting and pleasing artist and worthy of closer study.

The Master

The young Giovanni was probably in Florence around 1493 when Pietro Vannucci, known as Il Perugino, was among the four more prominent masters in the city together with Botticelli, Filipino, and Ghirlandaio. Perugino at that time assumed a leading role by opening the workshop near the Hospital of Santa Maria Nuova; his studio was on of the most active and was also frequented by numerous students from all over Europe who came to learn “the grace that he had in his own colouring technique” (G.Vasari, 1568). This has led us to believe that our artist may have come into contact with the Umbrian master, subsequently becoming his pupil and collaborator.

Influences and first Works

When in 1501 Perugino opened a workshop in Perugia, a rich town that wanted to renew its style and adopt a more contemporary feel, Giovanni followed him, where he probably also came into contact with Raffaello, another young follower of Perugino. Giovanni worked together with the Master on a series of frescoes for the Franciscan Convent of Monteripido, of these only a fresco of Saint Francis receiving the stigmata remains. It was located on the gable of the façade of the Church and attributed to Lo Spagna and which is now preserved at the National Gallery of Umbria.

Critics agree that in the pictorial style of Giovanni di Pietro there is a strong similarity to Peruginos style of models, which was a fundamental step in the formation of the painter and in obtaining commissions, and also in his ability to grasp the influence of Raffaello while maintaining a personal and simple language that is rich in the fine use of colour and grace. Some of his works form part of collections of some of the most important museums of the world, among which are: The National Gallery, London, The Louvre, Paris and the Vatican Museum Art Gallery, Rome.

From the first keeps to Success

At the beginning of 1500 the Perugino environment was under the control of the Bottega del Vannucci and in common with Perugino collaborators including Pinturicchio, Lo Spagna needed to move on in search of work in order to be able to create his own entourage. His artistic career finally took off in other Umbrian towns.

The beautiful and elegant town of Todi, that dominates the valley of the Tiber is significant: in 1507 a contract was agreed in Todi between the painter and the body of the Church of San Potito to create an altarpiece depicting the Coronation of the Virgin (Todi, Museo Civico) (fig.1), which was completed in 1511 when the artist went to live there and set up a business. In addition to the Montesanto altarpiece, Giovanni worked in the cathedral where he painted various chapels with frescos (between the 1513 and 1515) and he also decorated the organ (1516). Two tablets remain depicting St. Peter and St. Paul and a fragment of a fresco depicting a Trinity (fourth nave on the right, Cathedral of Santa Maria Annunziata, Todi).

Another important Umbrian centre in Lo Spagnas career is the city of Trevi, a village at the top of Monte Serano, beautifully dominates the Spoleto valley, the seat of powerful local families. Here the artist was commissioned by Ermodoro Minerva, ambassador of Ludovico Sforza, to decorate the chapel of San Girolamo in the church of S. Martino. The lunette with the Virgin in Glory with Saints Jerome, Giovanni Battista, Francesco and Antonio da Padova dated 1512 is a fresco with clear Perugino references with its ideal and pleasant landscape, but in more decisive colours. He also created the imposing altarpiece with the Coronation of the Virgin in the same church in 1522 (now at the Pinacoteca of the San Francesco Museum complex). It is rich in pure refined iridescent tones, with solidly constructed figures and subjects and items carefully rendered in an illusionary style, derived from the prototype of Filippo Lippi in the Cathedral of Spoleto (1467-69) and by the Coronation of the Virgin of the Ghirlandaio that he created at San Girolamo in Narni in 1486; both were also referenced to Raphael in 1505 for the altarpiece at Monteluce in Perugia. While at Trevi, the Master Lo Spagna, who by now was in demand and lauded by the whole of Umbria, decorated the church of the Madonna delle Lacrime between 1518 and 1520 with references to the sought-after style of Raffaello, shown in particular in the scene of the transportation of Christ (fig.2), where there is a strong association to the masterpiece by the Urbino Master carried out for the Cappella Baglioni in Perugia in 1507 which is today curated at the Borghese Gallery in Rome. This was testament to Lo Spagnas development in rapid and continual renewal, stimulated by continuous in depth study, in keeping with the requests for special commissions by the more affluent.

In 1516 he was granted citizenship of Spoleto, witness to the fact that Giovanni had resided in Spoleto already for several years. On 31 August 1517 he was appointed Head of Art for painters and goldsmiths, confirming his recognition in the role of Head of the school. From 1516 onwards, his activities were based in Spoleto and the surrounding centres, based on documentary evidence as well as by a large body of work which reveals the presence of assistance and workshop activities that had assimilated his style. Among the more interesting and significant works are the Madonna Ridolfi a Madonna with Child between Saints Giacomo, Niccolò da Tolentino, Caterina and Brizio commissioned by Pietro Ridolfi (fig.3) who was governor of Spoleto from 1514 to 1516 (Spoleto, Palazzo Comunale), the Virtues painted for the Rocca, removed in 1824 and reconstructed in a monument dedicated to Leo XII (Palazzo Comunale). The arrangement and the iconography of the three allegorical figures, justice at the top, with charity and mercy on each side, suggests their destination was to have been an environment with judicial functions. In Charity, conceived in accordance with a rotating composition, and in Clemency, characterised by the perspective that confers rhetoric in gestures and postures, there are also solutions developed by Raphael in the Roman year, thus suggesting a history ahead of its time.

Along the Via Flaminia, not far from Spoleto in the church of San Giacomo Apostolo, the patron saint of pilgrims, Giovanni di Pietro is asked to decorate the apse and two chapels in 1526. The semi-dome depicts the Coronation of the Virgin (fig.4) and the wall depicts San Giacomo and the Miracle of the hanged man and the Miracle of the chickens. With an extraordinary richness of gilding, colours and grotesque ornaments and crowded with figures, it is scenically complex and it is here Lo Spagna achieved the pinnacle of his career, a rare Umbrian display in a modern style.

Spoleto – San Giacomo

Durign this time, together with his workshop, Lo Spagna worked at Valnerina: in the church of S. Michele Arcangelo in Gavelli, where there are frescoes dated 1518 and 1523; to Visso in the church of S. Augustine; at Scheggino, where, finally in 1526 he signed the contract to decorate the church gallery of S. Niccolò for which he was offered 150 guilders.

Inheritage

Lo Spagna may have died of plague in October 1528 confirmed by an entry in the Town Archives of Spoleto which reports that on 9th day of that month candles for the funeral ceremony were received: “die 9 octobris, havemmo per la morte dello Spagna pictore quatro torcie” (Gualdi Sabatini, 1984, p. 395). (“ day of 9 October, we received four candles for the death of the painter Lo Spagna)

Dono Doni was the best known of his followers, but not the only one to collect the baton; his flourishing workshop still today constitutes a characterizing feature of the artistic heritage of the area of Spoleto and the Nera Valley. Among the collaborators to be remembered are also Giovanni Brunotti and Isidoro di ser Moscato, Giacomo di Giovannofrio Iucciaroni (circa 1483-1524) active in Valnerina and Piermarino di Giacomo who in 1533 completed the Scheggino frescoes.

 

 

FOR MORE INFORMATIONS:

TodiMuseo civico (closed on Mondays. Open: 10.00-13.00/ 15.00-17.30), Cattedrale di Santa Maria Annunziata (open all day: 9.00-18.00). Tourist Office tel. 075 8942526

TreviPinacoteca complesso museale di San Francesco (open from Friday to Sunday: 10.30-13.00/ 14.30-18.00), other spaces open on request). ProTrevi tel. 0742 781150

SpoletoPalazzo Comunale (open from Monday to Friday: 9.00-13.00; Modays and Thursdays: 15.00-17.00). Tourist Office tel.  0743218620/1

 

 

 

 


Fausta Gualdi Sabatini, Giovanni di Pietro detto Lo Spagna, Spoleto, Accademia Spoletina, 1984.
Pietro Scarpellini, Perugino, Electa, MIlano 1984.
Perugino: il divin pittore, cat. della mostra a cura di Vittoria Garibaldi e Federico Francesco Mancini, (Perugia, Galleria Nazionale dell’Umbria 2004), Silvana Editoriale, Cinisello Balsamo 2004.
Giovanna Sapori, Giovanni di Pietro: un pittore spagnolo tra Perugino e Raffaello, Milano, Electa, 2004